With college football's 2021 season officially in the books and the New Year upon us, rumors are beginning to fly regarding visits and commitments for the 2022 class, the transfer portal and beyond.
Under second-year head coach Lane Kiffin, the Rebels recruiting momentum is hitting full force, and as a result, recruits who were once thought to be unattainable, are now beginning to take a hard look at the makings of what Kiffin is building in Oxford.
Stick with The Grove Report for all of the latest updates in recruiting below:
FEBAURAY 1, 9:00 AM UPDATE
The lone Ole Miss football commitment yet to sign with the program is no longer expected to ink with the program Wednesday, reports On3 Sports' Ben Garrett.
Offensive lineman Timi Gagophien will not sign with the Rebels during the open of the signing period this week. The Houston (Texas) Hastings standout, who originally committed in July, will have to take junior college courses before potentially enrolling with the program at a later date.
“I love everything about Ole Miss," Gagophien said in the report. "It has everything a player might want. But the play style is really what I love. They dominate and leave a mark at whatever field they’re on.”
Of course the Rebels have been more focused on the transfer portal than traditional prep and junior college recruiting this year. In December, it signed a top 25 recruiting class from the traditional sense and it has added to the haul with several key transfers within the best portal class in college football.
JANUARY 30, 9:30 AM UPDATE
Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss have dominated the college football transfer portal to date, sporting the No. 1 class in the country via 247Sports following the additions of Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg this week, but the staff isn't quite done.
Targets remain at various positions, from wide receiver to the defensive line, and one top target made it to Oxford for a fresh look over the weekend.
Jared Ivey, a sophomore who announced his intentions to transfer from Georgia Tech on Friday, has already received considerable attention from many programs. Having added offers from Oregon and Miami, among others in a two-day span, the defensive lineman was at Ole Miss on Saturday for a visit that reportedly has gone quite well.
Seen with Kiffin in his latest luxury car flex on what was a busy Saturday for the head Rebel, The Grove Report sources indicate Ivey could be looking at making a decision relatively soon and a variety of assistant coaches in Oxford have insinuated as much via social media, too.
Ivey, who is listed at 6'6", 275 pounds, saw significant action at Tech over the last two seasons. In 20 career games, he has registered 40 tackles, including seven for loss and 1.5 sacks. Ivey forced a fumble against North Carolina in the fall, too.
Originally enrolling at Tech in 2020, the Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett product would have up to three years of eligibility remaining should he transfer to Ole Miss due to the pandemic-influenced extra year of eligibility from his freshman campaign.
JANUARY 28, 9:30 AM UPDATE
Ole Miss has been busy sending out offers in the recruiting class of 2023, but one longtime target continues to feel the push from Lane Kiffin and company along the way.
Semaj Morgan is a well-known junior wide receiver out of West Bloomfield (Mich.) High School and he has been committed to the local Michigan Wolverines since December. He reports solidity to the program, even amid Jim Harbaugh rumors relevant to the NFL, but the Rebels are the program he continues to hear from most.
"They're really trying to flip me, like for real," Morgan said. "They just check on me every couple of days to see how I'm doing. I hear from Derrick Nix, Buddy Brosky, Coach (Chris) Partridge.
"Ole Miss is nice, though. I've been there a couple times."
Miami, Missouri and others are also still in communication with Morgan, he reports. Morgan helped West Bloomfield to 10 wins as a junior.
JANUARY 27, 9:05 AM UPDATE
It has been busy for the Rebel coaching staff on the quarterback front.
In addition to looking to solidify a passer in the current cycle, there is another name to know in the 2023 hunt to go along with the chase for Arch Manning.
Christopher Vizzina, a breakout passer out of Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian, has been red hot on the recruiting trail and Ole Miss jumped in with a scholarship offer his way on Wednesday. It appears the extension came through new Rebel offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr.
Already a coveted name in the class of 2023, the 6'4", 200-pound passer has collected more than two dozen scholarship offers, including from Auburn, LSU, Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame and others. As a junior, he led Briarwood Christian to a 10-win season before falling to eventual state champion Clay (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville in the Class 6A playoffs. Vizzina accounted for 31 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions in his second year as the varsity starter.
"I want to go somewhere the culture is right, and I know the term culture is overused, but I want to go somewhere I am comfortable with them making me uncomfortable to push me to be my best," he told VR2 this week. "I want to go somewhere they can develop me as a person and a quarterback, so I want to go to a place that can get me ready for the NFL and to have an opportunity. That is what I am really looking for."
Vizzina, already committed to the All-American Bowl for next January, has already been to Oxford multiple times, stopping by in the summer for an elite junior day and taking in the win over former head coach Hugh Freeze and Liberty in November. He is expected to visit Clemson this weekend.
JANUARY 26, 10:45 AM UPDATE
Lane Kiffin has a new quarterback target.
Not in the transfer portal or the class of 2023 where it's all about Arch Manning, but the Rebels staff extended a new offer to a passer in the class of 2024.
Sophomore DJ Lagway, of Willis (Texas) High School, is the newest target at the game's most important position for Ole Miss.
"It’s an amazing program and I can’t wait to visit," Lagway told SI All-American. "My head coach had told me to give coach Ray (Fisher Ray) a call, and that’s how I found out. He likes the way I can keep plays alive after things breakdown and also the way I can sit in the pocket and pick defensive apart.
"It’s definitely one of my favorites."
The 6'2", 210-pound Lagway is a dual-threat quarterback and three-sport athlete at Willis, leading the program to the state playoffs in his first full season as the starter. The 2024 recruit accounted for 23 touchdowns and threw just two interceptions in 247 attempts in 2021.
Lagway, up to a dozen scholarship offers early on, added that a potential first impression of Oxford could soon be set for March.
JANUARY 24, 12:30 PM UPDATE
Lane Kiffin is shooting his shot.
Or at least the next shot.
The Ole Miss head coach has built a 10-game winner in just two years, has followed it up with a strong recruiting haul filled with needs being met. The only one to be determined is the position he's most known for, quarterback.
The Rebels have been interested in several, particularly in the transfer portal, with USC's Jaxson Dart taking the most recent official visit to campus this month. He followed it by seeing BYU and had previously seen Oklahoma, but there has been strong buzz for the SEC West program regarding the freshman.
Multiple Ole Miss assistants have spent one-on-one time with Dart back home in Utah, but The Grove Report could not confirm Kiffin's in-home visit to see the talented freshman.
But is that about the change?
Kiffin often plays social media quite well, especially while cryptic, but it's no secret the program needs to add quarterback depth as soon as possible and the market is shrinking relative to elite options.
The clock is also ticking towards the end of the month, near the end of the add/drop window spring semester students must be enrolled by in order to be considered full-time. Only full-time students are permitted to play spring football.
So whether Kiffin is headed to Utah or 'to get' someone or something somewhere else, the wait for Dart and fellow USC transfer Michael Trigg shouldn't be much longer.
JANUARY 21, 3:05 PM UPDATE
One of Ole Miss' top transfer targets has made a decision.
Javon Baker, the Alabama transfer wide receiver originally out of Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern High School, took the last expected visit before a decision this week. On Thursday, he was on campus at Kentucky after trips to Ole Miss and Florida within the last week.
It turned out to wrap up his recruitment in favor of the most recent campus he saw. Baker announced a verbal commitment to Kentucky on his Instagram on Friday afternoon.
"Thank you to everybody who believed in me and guided me thru this process… let’s show the world what they haven’t seen yet4️⃣sure🤘🏾#bbn," it read.
It's safe to say the talented pass catcher wanted to remain in college football's premiere conference, picking UK over OM and UF and he should enroll relatively soon. In order to participate in spring football at any school, the sophomore would need to be a full-time student by the end of the add/drop at a particular school.
Baker, who registered seven receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in 2021 for Alabama, provides vertical ability, hands and some polish on an experienced frame. He has at least three seasons of eligibility remaining moving forward.
JANUARY 19, 8:30 AM UPDATE
One of the top young running backs in the state of Alabama has taken the next step in his recruitment and the Rebels are in the thick of it.
Drew Pickett, a three-year starter at Seale (Ala.) Russell County High School, released his group of to college contenders for his verbal commitment on Tuesday.
Along with the Rebels, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Kansas made the cut for the class of 2023 recruit.
Pickett has already visited Oxford and views the campus as a true option moving forward as he cuts his list of options virtually in half.
As a junior in 2021, Pickett rushed for 835 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 163 yards and another score out of the backfield in nine games of action.
The Rebels have just one class of 2023 verbal commitment on board to date via in-state standout Suntarine Perkins.
JANUARY 18, 8:30 AM UPDATE
Arch Manning's recruitment appears to be headed well into the New Year but Ole Miss hasn't slowed in its efforts for the class of 2023 NFL legacy quarterback.
Of course the Rebels aren't alone as Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Texas and several others continue to court the New Orleans native, with many college football coaches attending Manning's basketball games at Isidore Newman High School.
New Ole Miss assistant coach Charlie Weis, Jr., has been among them this week. The offensive coordinator saw Manning play basketball on Monday and Manning's high school football coach was impressed with the Weis impression, according to 247Sports.
“It was great to see him,” Greenies Head Coach Nelson Stewart said. “Twenty-eight, he’s such a young guy being an OC but you can tell talking to him his football IQ. He’s super excited and just talked about his path. He obviously worked with Lane (Kiffin) in the past and we got a chance to talk about offense and playing calling and how fast he likes to do it.
"You can tell he has a real high football IQ.”
Manning is in no rush to make a verbal commitment and has yet to put out a list of top programs, something he may never reveal before making a final decision. The junior is expected to resume making visits later this spring as colleges ramp up spring practice.
The Ole Miss legacy visited Oxford twice during the fall and also saw the team play during the Sugar Bowl in his native New Orleans.
JANUARY 16, 5:30 PM UPDATE
It looks like USC's Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg have enjoyed their trip to Oxford.
Dart and Trigg both tweeted a photo with a car and Lane Kiffin on Sunday evening while wearing Ole Miss gear.
JANUARY 16, 3:30 PM UPDATE
Jordan Lockhart, 2024 linebacker out of St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) committed to Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon.
Lockhart is the younger brother of Danny Lockhart, a USC transfer who recently committed to Ole Miss. This younger Lockhart still has two high school seasons left to play, but he comes from one of the more prestigious programs in the country.
Here is Lockhart's commitment video and a word of congratulations he extended to his brother in December.
Ole Miss is also seeking to land two other transfers from USC in Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg, both of whom visited Oxford this weekend.
JANUARY 16, 3:00 PM UPDATE
One of Ole Miss' top transfer targets on defense has come to a decision.
DJ James, the former Oregon starting cornerback, was down to Ole Miss, Miami and Auburn ahead of making a public decision on Sunday afternoon. After trips to both the Plains and Coral Gables, the former Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School star went public with plans to finish his college career in his home state at Auburn.
Ole Miss did not receive a visit in the James recruitment, but he did meet with Rebel secondary coach Terrell Buckley on Saturday prior to making the final decision. James, who had two interceptions along with 40-plus tackles while at UO, committed to Buckley at Mississippi State back in high school.
The Rebels have been busy in the portal and remain in on several targets from quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Jaxson Dart to wide receiver Javon Baker and many others.
JANUARY 16, 1:15 PM UPDATE
Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg attended last night’s basketball game between Ole Miss and No. 4 Auburn. The duo was spotted with Rebel players Jonathan Hess and Nick Broeker on an Instagram live broadcast from Trigg’s account.
JANUARY 15, 2:30 PM UPDATE
They made it in.
Sources tell The Grove Report that coveted USC transfer recruits Jaxson Dart and Michael Trigg, each elite recruits in the high school recruiting class of 2021, are on campus in Oxford for their official visit.
Each saw action and flashed as freshmen at USC this fall and appear to be navigating the transfer portal process together. The duo spent time at Oklahoma on Friday as the NCAA's contact period began after the dead period in place from the middle of December into the New Year. This contact period runs through the end of the month.
For Dart, the quarterback thrust into action after Kedon Slovis' injury, there is a reported top three of Ole Miss, OU and TCU -- along with rumors of the Horned Frog staff campaigning the coveted recruit to replace the trip to Oxford with one to Fort Worth this weekend. The quarterback room under Kiffin needs another arm and few doubt the fit Dart would bring in the tall task of replacing Matt Corral's run in town.
Trigg dealt with an injury as a freshman as a knee issue caused him to miss considerable time. A hybrid tight end/wide receiver type who also considered playing basketball in college, Trigg finished 2021 with seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown versus Colorado.
The Rebels have a top 25 recruiting class and have attacked the portal hard as a compliment, landing several prospects of late including TCU running back Zach Evans and Central Michigan linebacker Troy Brown.
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